Gov’t agencies told to boost strategies vs. Covid-19

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

April 18, 2020, 2:36 pm

(EDITOR'S NOTE: We are updating this story's headline to respond to the distortions being spread online by malicious actors, who made it appear that the government has yet to formulate plans and strategies in fighting Covid-19. Please note that the story delves on the government's move to further strengthen existing measures, which can be done by formulating supplementary operational plans and strategies. Our government's response must be calibrated from time to time to effectively deal with the evolving threats and challenges posed by Covid-19. As one of the government's primary information vehicles, the Philippine News Agency joins the entire nation in our collective effort to #HealAsOne, starting with the delivery of timely, accurate, and useful information to help Filipinos make informed decisions at this time of national health crisis.)

MANILA – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has ordered all state departments to come up with plans and strategies that will boost the government’s fight against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

The IATF-EID issued the latest directive after it adopted on Friday a “national-government-enabled, local government unit (LGU)-led, and people-centered” response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In materializing the aforementioned general principles, all agencies are directed to recommend sector-specific plans, strategies, and targets to the IATF,” Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in a virtual press briefing aired on state-run PTV-4 on Saturday.

Nograles said the National Task Force (NTF) Covid-19 is likewise directed to develop the necessary operational plans.

He added that Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., the chief implementer of NTF Covid-19, is authorized to establish, reorganize, and abolish NTF sub-task groups “as may be necessary to carry out the government’s response to the Covid-19 health event.”

“LGUs are enjoined to pursue regional cooperation in leading the fight against Covid-19,” Nograles said.

The national government imposed several measures to halt the spread of Covid-19, which include the imposition of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon that will last until April 30.

Earlier, President Duterte created a small group that is directed to formulate an economic recovery plan after the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

The small group is composed of Duterte’s economic managers.

However, Duterte’s chief economist, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, announced on Friday his decision to step down from the post due to “personal reasons” and “differences in development philosophy” with a few of his fellow Cabinet members.

On the same day Pernia resigned, the Palace announced that Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendric Chua has been appointed as the acting secretary of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

In a press statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Palace thanks Pernia for the resigned government official’s “valuable contribution to the Philippine economy.”

“Secretary Pernia formed part of the President's economic team which steered the country's strongest economic growth since the mid-1970s,” Roque said.

Roque said the executive branch expects Chua, who is set to assume office next week, to continue the economic momentum set by Pernia.

He said the Palace was confident that Chua would give insightful suggestions to counter the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

“[We expect Chua to] work in close coordination with the other members of PRRD's (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s) economic managers, to prepare the Philippines for a new normal and mitigate the socioeconomic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Roque said (PNA)